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Pandas front line helps keep volleyball unbeaten with win over Force


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON – The dynamic duo of senior Emily Jarome and sophomore Jess Molen combined for 36 kills to lead third-ranked Padua past fifth-ranked Wilmington Charter in nonconference volleyball on Sept. 22. The Pandas needed four sets to do it, winning 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18.

Katelyn McGonigal played steady defense for Padua on Friday, collecting 22 digs. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

The Pandas and Force put on a show in the first set, including many long rallies. Jarome had a couple early kills and a block by freshman Mackenzie Sobczyk gave the Pandas a 9-5 lead. Jarome and Molen then went on an offensive attack and got help on defense from Katelyn McGonigal to stretch their lead to 13-7. Maddie Matheny then led a Force run with three kills to cut the Pandas lead to 22-18. Jarome and Molen had a kill each, and an unforced error ended the first set.

The teams were on the seesaw early in the second set as Jarome and Matheny were taking turns putting dents in the gym floor. Jarome had a few key kills, including one to give Padua a 20-17 advantage. Sobczyk then had a kill and a block to make it 22-19 Pandas, and a Molen kill extended the lead to four. Charter’s Erin Michalcewiz then had a kill and an ace to cut it to 23-21, but two more errors gave the Pandas a 2-0 lead.

Emily Jarome lines up a shot. She had 20 kills to lead the Pandas. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

The Force got a couple aces from Sophia Delano to jump out to an 8-2 lead in the third. Matheny and Michalcewiz had some key kills, and they were able to hold off a Pandas comeback to take the third set.

After a back-and-forth fourth set, the Pandas pulled away late behind Molen and Jarome. Jarome ended the match with her 20th kill of the night. She also had 12 digs and four blocks. Molen had a very strong night with 16 kills, 14 digs, an ace and a block. McGonigal had 22 digs and a rare kill from the libero position. The Pandas (5-0) host St. Elizabeth on Tuesday night.

The Force (2-2) finished a tough opening stretch of top-10 teams. They were led by Matheny’s 23 kills, and 12 digs, and Michalcewiz added 15 kills and seven digs. They host First State Military Academy on Tuesday night.

Emma Lucey goes airborne on this serve. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)